Early Intervention Clinic (EIC)
CSLOT’s Early Intervention Clinics were developed in response to the growing need for intervention programs for infants and preschoolers with speech and/or language learning impairments. Experts in the field have conducted research that supports the efficacy of early intervention. Receiving therapeutic services at a young age promotes social and academic success and increases self-esteem during the school years.
In addition to providing early treatment for speech/language impairments, CSLOT’s Early Intervention Clinics are also a natural context in which to learn, grow, and develop skills in all areas. In this regard, our therapists are trained in assessment and treatment of cognitive, motor, self-help and social skills.
Most children attending CSLOT’s Early Intervention Clinics are referred by their local Regional Center. California has 21 Regional Centers with more than 40 offices located throughout the state that serve infants at risk for developmental delay. Santa Clara County is served by the San Andreas Regional Center, Alameda County is served by the Regional Center of the East Bay, and San Mateo County is served by the Golden Gate Regional Center. If your child is under the age of 3, and showing delays in speech and language development, and a delay in another developmental area, s/he may be eligible for CSLOT’s services through the Regional Center system. (www.dds.cahwnet.gov/rc/RCList.cfm)
The Early Intervention Clinics specialize in multiple diagnoses, including:
- Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders, including children with undiagnosed “autistic-like” characteristics
- Sensory Motor Disorders, often seen with developmental delays and frequently manifested in poorly coordinated gross or fine movements or in the inability to integrate auditory, visual, and motor components
- Delayed Language Development, which may co-exist with a delay in at least one other area, such as motor skills, socialization, or self-help
- Neurological Disorders including such non-developmental speech and language difficulties such as specific language disorder (SLI) and childhood apraxia of Speech (CAS)
The Early Intervention Clinic also:
- Treats children from 18 months to 60 months of age, grouped according to developmental level
- Works with parents and other involved professionals to establish individual goals for each child
- Provides intensive speech and language therapy in a small group, preschool-like setting for children at risk for severe speech and language problems. Individual treatment is an integral part of the program
- Provides cognitive, motor, and sensory integration development, with specific individual goals developed by the speech and occupational therapists and implemented on a daily basis
- Has a daily schedule that includes circle/group time, oral motor stimulation, gross and fine motor activities, opportunities for social interaction, and individual speech/language therapy
- Has instructional aides assisting the primary therapist, with class size ranging from 4-6 children. Student/teacher ratio is 2:1 or better
- Includes parent education during sessions and parent participation is encouraged
- Operates on a year-round schedule
Of children who exhibit use of fewer than 50 words at age 2 years:
- 83% persist in having a language delay at age 3 years.
Of children who remain delayed at age 3 years:
- 41% remain delayed in expressive language
- 55% show receptive deficits (language understanding) as well
- 73% score below age level in socialization skills
- 93% fall below the 50th percentile in speech sound production
- 56% fall below the 10th percentile in speech sound production
These findings suggest the following predictions about toddlers with small expressive vocabularies:
- They are at substantial risk for continued delay in language development
- They are at high risk for delays in speech sound proficiency
- They have a high probability of showing social immaturity
- They may have subtle nonverbal cognitive deficits
- They may have academic difficulties later in life
These findings have important clinical implications both for assessment and treatment of “late-talking” toddlers:
- Children at 24-30 months who produce fewer than 50 words should be seen for further evaluation of language function. Typically, by 24 months, children should have a vocabulary of at least 250 words may have a slightly different pattern of language development.
- When parents are advised by their pediatrician to “wait and see,” 75% of children with communication difficulties go undetected until the age of 5, when they enter kindergarten. Because a majority of these children will not resolve these delays on their own, intervention is often justified.
- Deficits in socialization very frequently accompany language delay. Therefore, approaches that focus on using language to attain social goals are an extremely important part of intervention.
- Because speech sound errors may coexist with language delays in these children, articulation development should be included in the therapeutic plan. Recommended practice is to work with the parents to support them working with their child.
If you know a two-year-old child who is not developing a 250-word vocabulary, he should be referred to a speech pathologist at CSLOT for evaluation, intervention and/or monitoring.